"His Letter"
oil on canvas
35" x 29"

"His Letter" is one of a pair of allegorical paintings in which the written word is as important
as the objects in the still life. The complimentary painting is "Her Reply" in which the lady he is
writing responds.
When the viewer reads the letters s/he is immediately drawn into the lives of two people, who at
one time were very much in love, but circumstances have separated them. Each object is a clue as to
the kind of person who has written the letter and what has happened in their lives since being separated.
There is a brass key in the lower left of the painting that points toward the center and says that
the keys to understanding the story are within the painting. The globe, binoculars and compass suggest
that this man has been traveling, but he has never forgotten his love as indicated by her picture and
handkerchief. The New Testament says that he is a righteous man. The watch symbolizes the
passage of time and the glasses suggest that he is no longer a young man. The kerosene lamp and
the rather plain and humble surroundings show the viewer that he is not a wealthy man, but
the books indicate that he is an educated man.
As in all of my paintings the light , the reflections, the cast shadows and the colors are very
important. I love the shadows this particular lamp casts and they are found in many of my paintings.

-Gretchen Claybrook